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Monday, June 14, 2010

Review of Snap Kitchen: Or, the day protein came to town.

If you were my friend from roughly 2002 - 2004, then you would know that I ate sweet potatoes, almost exclusively, every day.

Oh sure, there was the odd bowl of cereal, container of yogurt, or veggie burger thrown in. But mostly, it was microwaved, salted sweet potatoes. Cut in half. Eaten with a spoon.

In 2005, I graduated to butternut squash. Looking back, I'm a little shocked that I managed to fit a whole butternut squash into my stomach at one time. That's a pretty serious vegetable. I suffered from stomach problems for the next two years, and even visited a gastroenterologist. But while everyone thought it was simply the stress of grad school, I'm fairly certain this is your body's natural reaction when you insist on stuffing a plant the size of a small cat into it every day.

It wasn't until I got to Austin, in 2007, that I began to seriously contemplate protein. "Hey, I wonder what it would be like if I ate a salad with tuna on it?" Or, "What if I put cottage cheese on top of this sweet potato?" (Which, if you're wondering, is actually really good. I realize it sounds bizarre.) I mean, I knew all those health magazines by heart. I heard the protein gospel. I was just unsure of what to do with food if you couldn't microwave it, or simply unwrap the package and eat it.

So, I sought out protein sources that required me to do neither.

I finally began eating like a normal person when I got married, and lived with a man who basically said to me: "Tolly, this is a POT. This is a BURNER. FOOD goes inside the POT. Now we're going to turn on THE BURNER."

Truly, I lacked kitchen instincts.

These days though, I can make all kinds of stuff! Food Network isn't calling anytime soon, but I can grill salmon, I can bake frittata, I even made buffalo meatballs a few weeks ago.

This is a very, very long prelude to my review of Snap Kitchen, a company here in Austin that kindly allowed my friend Breanna and I to sample out their services for three weeks. Pictured at the top is one of my favorite dishes of theirs, Ginger Chicken Stir Fry.

Breanna posted on Snap Kitchen recently, while we were both still in our three week "trial" period. It's over now, and I'm actually pretty sad about it. That's because I adored Snap Kitchen!

As Breanna wrote, the idea of this company is that, using fresh, local, organic-as-much-as-possible food from the farmer's market, meals are prepared with appropriate portions of fats, carbs, protein, etc. They have nutrition labels written on all the packages, so you when you enter the store, you just peruse the reach-in refrigerator and pick something out. Quick. Easy. A snap, if you will.

Now Reader as you've come to learn, the number of edible proteins regularly found in our refrigerator totals, oh, TWO. Me preparing a salad with something fancy like flank steak is a little bit like me going to the grocery store wearing Prada. It's an option, but an extremely unlikely option.

With Snap Kitchen, however, I ate flank steak A LOT. Ground turkey, stir-fried shrimp, more quinoa than I knew what to do with. And for me, this has been the biggest take-away lesson from Snap Kitchen: That you feel a little bit awesome when you eat that much protein. I went into this trial period not wanting to lose weight necessarily, but wanting to feel more energetic. I have this weird low blood sugar thing sometimes where I feel shaky at odd hours of the day, and I never experienced that while eating Snap meals. I know this sounds like sponsored-post talk, but I honestly felt marvelous?

Since we're doing a series on Snap Kitchen, and I'm going to interview the owner for the third and last post, I'll save the more explicitly-nutritional stuff for him. But if you're intrigued already and stop by the store, let me tell you what my favorite Snap meals were:

Banana Nut Pancakes (zomg.)
Housemade Buffalo Sausage and Peppers
Buffalo Meatballs 
Buffalo Quinoa Hash (are you seeing a pattern?)
Grilled Flank Steak Wraps
Ginger Glazed Salmon
Gluten Free Coconut Mini Cakes (don't let the "Gluten Free, womp womp!" label scare you. These are SOME OF THE MOST DELICIOUS THINGS I'VE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH.)

I'd love to hear what other people thought of Snap Kitchen if you've tried it yet.

Also, with my man gone, and my Snap trial over, what are you cooking right now? I boiled eggs this morning, so that's a start, but what are your ideas?

Photo source of that hilarious masked woman.


Alex said...

pesto marinated chicken breast (from the Central Market meat counter - DELICIOUS!) over pasta with lots and lots of pesto mixed in.

in my life, pesto is a food group.

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

Looks wonderful!

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Alex - MMM! Pesto is *so* amazing. I eat it far too frequently. Thanks for the suggestion.

@Chelsea - I'm using a less-than-awesome camera right now, so I'm glad you like the looks of this. ;) Wish my photography did it justice!

Unknown said...

The Snap Kitchen folks are truly great. I still need to get more of that Buffalo Hash...

And I'm sorry, but I have to:


katherine said...

I wonder if they get their meats from local farms? I'm a vegetarian, but will eat meat if it's local/I know the farm(ers)/etc. That kinda makes me a fauxvegetarian (fauxtarian?), but it makes me feel better about the delicious things I could possibly put in my mouth. Looks like I need to check this place out!

Also: low blood sugar? Sounds like hypoglycemia. I have it, too. :D

katherine said...

Oh, and as far as what I'm eating: grilled cheese with guacamole, ranch, and mustard on sourdough bread. Delicious and easy (especially if you have a George Foreman grill!).

Mai said...

so is all the food precooked or just put together so all you do it throw it into the pan? I consider myself a good cook, but sometimes I just don't have time to do the prep so I end up eating bad :/

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Breanna - LOL. Oh and she/I will say it, over and over again!

@Katherine - "Fauxtarian!" I love it. You should make a t-shirt with that word.

And that's actually a really good question! I'll ask the owner of Snap when we interview.

Also...WOW, your sandwich sounds decadent and amazing!! Cheese / guac / ranch / mustard - I would never have put those four together. Well, the cheese and guac maybe, but mustard is the wild card. Reminds me how much I need to get a George Foreman! I had one in college and it was so fun! Wonder what happened to it...?

Grilled PB&J's, from what I recall, are pretty damn delicious on the GF as well.

Kerry & Laura said...

Love your blog! And I love Snap Kitchen. I only eat "clean meats" that are hormone and antibiotic free. And I try to consume mostly local fare. So there you have it. Snap meets all my needs and is filling + delicious.

As far as what I'm cooking tonight...whole wheat pasta with asparagus tips, peas, lemon thyme and goat cheese. Easy and yum!

Austin Eavesdropper said...

Hey @Kerry&Laura! I wanna come to the Shoal Creek Supper Club! ;D

Anyway, WOW, your pasta sounds amazing. Lemon thyme...did you grow that? Or, buy it at Central Market or something?

I think goat cheese is trying to tell me that it needs a place in my life. You are the second person today who's recommended a goat cheese dish to me.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Mai - Hey you! I missed your comment somehow!! Dude, it's all prepped and pre-cooked. They come in little packages so you LITERALLY microwave for 1-2 mins, then eat. It's healthy eating for cooking morons, which I am.

Laura said...

My husbot is actually a great cook as well, and during my insane 2-job work-weeks for the past 3 months or so, he has even gotten up early to cook me proper breakfasts. So, I must say that his breakfast tacos are UH-MAY-ZING! He gets some thin-sliced beef steaks at the grocery store, grills 'em whole, slices 'n' dices them into thin strips once cooked, and then slathers the whole thing with guacamole, lettuce, cheese, salsa and queso salvadore. YUM!

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Laura- MMMMM, omg! Queso Salvadore? I don't even know what that is, but I want it! In my face!!

Dude, have you ever been to Taco Deli? Can't remember if I've ever seen you talk about it on Shoestring...that place is cheap *and awesome.* In between jobs, I seriously recommend hitting up that place. Mole chicken tacos! WHAT!